Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/02/2004 03:30 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           SB 297-BEAR HUNTING/DISPOSAL OF HIDE/SKULL                                                                       
CHAIR SCOTT OGAN announced SB 297 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS, sponsor, moved  to adopt SSSB 297, version                                                               
CHAIR OGAN objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS said  he removed the section having to  do with a                                                               
fourth  guide area  - primarily  because that  section was  moved                                                               
into the Commercial  Service Board bill that  the committee heard                                                               
earlier. Section  2 is now section  1 and talks about  control of                                                               
different  species of  bears.  The  Board of  Game  has to  first                                                               
identify predation by bears to be  the cause of the depletion and                                                               
determine that a reasonable reduction would solve the problem.                                                                  
The department is  required to provide notice to  the public when                                                               
those sections are in effect.                                                                                                   
Page 2, line 5, section (b)  says that the permit would be issued                                                               
by  the department  and  that  taking of  the  bear  under it  is                                                               
subject to the provisions of  AS 16 and the regulations governing                                                               
it  that  do not  conflict  with  other  sections in  this  bill.                                                               
Section (c) lists concerns that  the guides have about continuing                                                               
to  require  guide  services for  hunting  dangerous  animals  in                                                               
dangerous terrain.                                                                                                              
Attorneys  told the  sponsor  that the  most  logical place  that                                                               
issue would be  challenged is under the second  degree of kindred                                                               
statutes.  Under those  statutes, a  10-year old  Alaska resident                                                               
could  take  his  adult  stepbrother,  or  stepwhomever,  hunting                                                               
grizzly bears.  This section says  any permit holder who  is over                                                               
21 years of  age and is a  resident of the state  who has legally                                                               
hunted big  game in the state  at least two calendar  years could                                                               
accompany a  maximum of two people  into the field and  stay with                                                               
them.  This is  a tougher  requirement  than to  be an  assistant                                                               
guide under  the commercial services  proposal who would  have to                                                               
be only  19 years of  age, have hunted big  game in the  State of                                                               
Alaska for two years and have  a Red Cross First Aid certificate.                                                               
A registered master  guide would not be restricted  to the number                                                               
of  people  they  could  accompany into  the  field  under  their                                                               
regular  rules and  could use  these  methods and  means for  the                                                               
harvest of  bear as long  as the client  has a permit  under this                                                               
CHAIR OGAN  asked if  a registered  guide could  book a  hunt and                                                               
send the clients out with someone who wasn't a registered guide.                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS   replied  no,  the  registered   guide  or  his                                                               
assistant must stay with the non-resident at all times.                                                                         
SENATOR GEORGIANNA  LINCOLN asked  if a resident  who is  over 21                                                               
years old,  who is not  a registered guide  could take out  up to                                                               
two non-resident  hunters, but can't receive  any remuneration in                                                               
excess of direct expenses.                                                                                                      
SENATOR SEEKINS replied that is  correct. Direct expenses include                                                               
food, fuel and how they got there.                                                                                              
CHAIR OGAN said  some kind of standard should  be established for                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS said:                                                                                                           
     I intend for it to mean  on the record that that direct                                                                    
     expense would  be for  fuel if they  had a  boat... and                                                                    
     for  food necessary  to get  there, what  it cost  that                                                                    
     person  to get  into the  field and  stay in  the field                                                                    
     with them - the direct expense.                                                                                            
CHAIR OGAN said he didn't want it to mean:                                                                                      
     Okay,  I had  to  buy  an airplane  to  take my  friend                                                                    
     hunting and I  had to buy a tent and  guns and all this                                                                    
     stuff. Those  were my direct  expenses for  taking this                                                                    
     person out. So, he owes me $10,000....                                                                                     
SENATOR SEEKINS  said he  didn't have any  problem with  that. He                                                               
means what it cost to get there,  not to buy the implement to get                                                               
there with.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  OGAN asked  about  feed  for horses,  since  it costs  him                                                               
several thousand dollars per year to feed his.                                                                                  
SENATOR SEEKINS responded  that he could charge for  the feed for                                                               
the  horse  while they  were  in  the  field  with him  with  the                                                               
particular person. "There is no way they can profit from it."                                                                   
CHAIR OGAN indicated everyone concurred with that.                                                                              
SENATOR ELTON  asked if someone  had to  take two weeks  off from                                                               
his job to do this, would that be considered a direct expense?                                                                  
SENATOR SEEKINS said no:                                                                                                        
     There should  be no repayment  of wages lost.  In other                                                                    
     words, I  should be  able to come  up with  an itemized                                                                    
     list of what  it costs for me to be  out there with you                                                                    
     in  terms  of my  food,  my  equipment and  that's  it.                                                                    
     That's my intent.                                                                                                          
He thought that could be established in regulation.                                                                             
CHAIR OGAN  wanted to say  hunters can't receive  remuneration at                                                               
all. If buddies want to go  hunting, they can split the expenses.                                                               
He moved  to delete  "in excess of  direct expenses  incurred in"                                                               
and insert  "for" and  insert "may  not receive  any remuneration                                                               
for accompanying".                                                                                                              
SENATOR  ELTON said  he didn't  object, but  suggested getting  a                                                               
dictionary  because  he  observed that  he  thought  remuneration                                                               
means to  pay and  striking the other  language may  broaden what                                                               
someone could charge off to expenses.                                                                                           
CHAIR OGAN  said, "We can  clearly state  on the record  that the                                                               
committee's intent  is that there  is no  compensation whatsoever                                                               
for doing this...."                                                                                                             
SENATOR   GEORGIANNA  LINCOLN   suggested  making   a  conceptual                                                               
CHAIR OGAN agreed and withdrew his amendment.                                                                                   
SENATOR SEEKINS  clarified that he  didn't expect that  the guide                                                               
taking the person  out would have to pay for  the expenses of the                                                               
person going out with him, but for his own expenses.                                                                            
He  moved on  to  section (d),  a suggestion  brought  to him  by                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).                                                                                     
     Since  our  intent is  to  put  more hunters  into  the                                                                    
     field, that  we do have  a universe of people  who tend                                                                    
     to be hunters,  who enjoy the outdoors,  who are active                                                                    
     participants in  the outdoors, who  are well-acquainted                                                                    
     with firearms in most cases  and who have been equipped                                                                    
     with survival skills in most  cases and whose lifestyle                                                                    
     generally  would include  this kind  of an  activity in                                                                    
     the military  and those  folks who  come to  Alaska, we                                                                    
     have  said here  that  if someone  is  in the  military                                                                    
     service  or  the  United States  Coast  Guard,  they're                                                                    
     stationed  in  Alaska  and  they  have  met  the  other                                                                    
     requirements in this section and  are at least 19 years                                                                    
     of  age, we're  going to  treat them  as a  resident in                                                                    
     terms of  getting a  bear control  permit. If  they are                                                                    
     over  21  years   of  age  and  they   meet  the  other                                                                    
     requirement  of having  hunted big  game in  Alaska for                                                                    
     two years, they can get a permit to accompany.                                                                             
CHAIR OGAN  thought that language  might be pushing the  issue in                                                               
section (c),  which covers the  reasons for requiring  guides for                                                               
bear hunting.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR SEEKINS said:                                                                                                           
     The only conceptual  way I could see  this happen would                                                                    
     be if  a military  person had grown  up in  Alaska, had                                                                    
     been here  before, had  hunted big  game in  Alaska for                                                                    
     two  years and  now they  came back  to the  state, but                                                                    
     were not technically a resident,  but they had the same                                                                    
     experience as if they had been, could accompany.                                                                           
CHAIR OGAN  said the  term "legally hunted  big game"  means that                                                               
they basically got a  tag and put on it that  they hunted one day                                                               
in a subunit when they may have  gotten out of their car for only                                                               
five minutes.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  ELTON  said he  understands  why  the sponsor  put  that                                                               
section  in, but  testimony from  previous years  on requiring  a                                                               
guide  to accompany  a  non-resident used  the  safety issue.  He                                                               
feared this started down the  "slippery slope" away from that and                                                               
wanted to hear opinions from the ADF&G and Attorney General.                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS said  he was  trying to  use the  same level  of                                                               
experience used  for a resident  in terms of their  experience in                                                               
the field, not based on their status as a military person.                                                                      
SENATOR LINCOLN asked  why the ADF&G said a provision  for a non-                                                               
resident military person had to be put  in. He or she could be 19                                                               
years old and  in the state for  only one day and  get a resident                                                               
hunting license.                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS explained the reason is:                                                                                        
     We're  attempting  to  put additional  hunters  in  the                                                                    
     field  of people  who have  reasonably  good skills  in                                                                    
     terms of survival and weapons use.                                                                                         
SENATOR LINCOLN couldn't see how  a military person who qualifies                                                               
as  a resident  by being  here one  day, and  hasn't been  in the                                                               
field,  can go  out there  without any  assistance. "How  is that                                                               
reflective of a  person who is knowledgeable about  the area, the                                                               
species and how to safely hunt?"                                                                                                
SENATOR  SEEKINS  agreed  that  there is  no  comparison  between                                                               
someone who has  not hunted big game before and  someone who has,                                                               
no matter how long they have lived in Alaska.                                                                                   
     All I was attempting to do  in this case is shorten the                                                                    
     period  for  the  qualification of  being  a  resident.                                                                    
     There  is no  guarantee that  in that  first 12  months                                                                    
     that someone  is in  the state that  they are  going to                                                                    
     get any more  experience than they had  when they first                                                                    
     came into  the state. So, all  I was trying to  do here                                                                    
     was basically make  people on a limited  budget able to                                                                    
     help us reduce bear populations....                                                                                        
CHAIR OGAN  agreed with his point  saying all a person  needs now                                                               
to hunt bear is to be a resident  for 12 months to get a bear tag                                                               
and $25.                                                                                                                        
SENATOR SEEKINS continued on to (e)  and (j) where he removed the                                                               
tag fee  and required a  sealing fee for the  hide of $50.  "I am                                                               
trying to  disassociate this from  hunting as  much as I  can and                                                               
make it a predator control program...."                                                                                         
SENATOR  ELTON asked  what  tag  fees are  for  black, brown  and                                                               
grizzly bears for residents and non-residents.                                                                                  
CHAIR  OGAN said  they could  ask  the department  representative                                                               
when he testifies.                                                                                                              
SENATOR  SEEKINS explained  that (f)  says a  person who  holds a                                                               
bear control  permit may use  within that area scents  and edible                                                               
parts of game or whole or  parts of dead domestic livestock as an                                                               
attractant for bear without having to register.                                                                                 
     Here, Mr.  Chairman, the  intent is  - many  bear kills                                                                    
     are incidental  kills on gut  piles. Trying to  be able                                                                    
     to  relocate that  gut pile  in  a place  that is  more                                                                    
     advantageous  for  the  hunter   rather  than  for  the                                                                    
     hunted. A moose  does not always die where  you want it                                                                    
     to. If it's  in an area of high density  cover, you may                                                                    
     want  to move  that gut  pile to  an area  that's clear                                                                    
     where  you can  conceal yourself  and ask  the bear  to                                                                    
     expose him or herself to  make it safer, make it easier                                                                    
     for a more humane kill and  make it more probable to be                                                                    
     able to actually harvest the bear.                                                                                         
     Secondly,  to  be  able  to   use,  for  example,  dead                                                                    
     livestock. When  I grew up  in Wyoming, we had  a steer                                                                    
     that died. We  used that for bear bait. We  took it out                                                                    
     and chained it to a log  in the middle of an open area.                                                                    
     But, because  gut piles  are incidental  kills, they're                                                                    
     in the field,  it's not easy for someone to  be able to                                                                    
     come  back to  town to  be able  to get  a registration                                                                    
     permit. We talked about a way  to be able to do that in                                                                    
     these areas if  you have that permit  without having to                                                                    
CHAIR OGAN said,  "That's only if you relocate it.  Right now you                                                               
can shoot a bear  off your kill if you don't  relocate any of the                                                               
SENATOR  SEEKINS added  that relocating  gut  piles under  normal                                                               
hunting rules is prohibited.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  OGAN  said  that  argument isn't  germane  to  using  dead                                                               
domestic  livestock,  because obviously  you  have  an intent  to                                                               
bring something out there.                                                                                                      
SENATOR  SEEKINS  said  he  only  wanted to  give  a  hunter  the                                                               
opportunity to place  that in the field in  an advantageous place                                                               
that  is a  long way  from  civilization rather  than getting  an                                                               
actual location like bear baiting stations are now.                                                                             
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked if "without  having to  register" referred                                                               
to the bait station.                                                                                                            
SENATOR SEEKINS replied yes.                                                                                                    
     I  wouldn't  have a  problem  if  under regulations  we                                                                    
     tried to define proximity and  a few other things along                                                                    
     that line, Mr.  Chairman. Now, if you're  going to have                                                                    
     a  bait station,  you have  to locate  it; you  have to                                                                    
     post  signs around  it; you  have  to do  all kinds  of                                                                    
     things,  because you're  generally assumed  to be  in a                                                                    
     little  closer proximity  to where  people live....  In                                                                    
     this case  we're anticipating that when  someone is out                                                                    
     in the field, that it's  very difficult for them to get                                                                    
     back  to  town  to  go   through  the  process  at  the                                                                    
     Department of Fish and Game  to do all the registration                                                                    
     on the gut  pile or on where they might  place the dead                                                                    
     remains of a domestic animal.                                                                                              
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked him  to look closer  at that  point before                                                               
this comes back before the committee.                                                                                           
     I don't  know how difficult  it is if you're  going out                                                                    
     into that field to hunt  bear in that given permit area                                                                    
     to  say  that  you  will  at  least  have  the  baiting                                                                    
     stations within the area.                                                                                                  
CHAIR OGAN  responded that there  would be some  discussion about                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS  forged on that  he had  talked at length  to the                                                               
department about how  to differentiate this from  a bait station.                                                               
He explained that  (g) covers same-day air borne  hunting that is                                                               
allowed in this bill.                                                                                                           
TAPE 04-35, SIDE B                                                                                                            
SENATOR  SEEKINS continued  saying  that (h)  deals with  current                                                               
regulations and allows a person with  a permit to use a motorboat                                                               
or a  motorized land vehicle to  intercept or pursue a  bear that                                                               
has  become aware  of the  person's presence.  Section (i)  talks                                                               
about  two-way communication  and optical  illumination equipment                                                               
to aid in taking a bear.                                                                                                        
CHAIR OGAN asked if he intended to allow hunting bears at night.                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  professed allowing someone  to locate or  hunt a                                                               
bear  on  the  permitted  area  at  night.  The  use  of  two-way                                                               
communication equipment is  for safety as much  as anything else.                                                               
He  related how  a hunter  he knew  wounded a  bear that  circled                                                               
around  and  mauled  him,  but  his friends  who  saw  it  happen                                                               
couldn't   warn  him.   "It's   not   necessarily  an   unethical                                                               
CHAIR OGAN  contended that  someone could herd  bears by  using a                                                               
swamp buggy,  huge lights and  radios. The bears wouldn't  have a                                                               
SENATOR  SEEKINS  believed that  would  be  an extreme  case  and                                                               
probably  wouldn't  happen.  He strongly  believed  that  two-way                                                               
radios would be a big help.                                                                                                     
     Unfettered use  of big  spotlights and  everything else                                                                    
     would not be  within my intent. My intent is  to try to                                                                    
     safely  eliminate bears  and to  give the  advantage to                                                                    
     the hunter.                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  went back  to the  last part  of section  (h) that                                                               
says a  motorized boat or  land vehicle can  be used to  pursue a                                                               
bear that  has become  aware of the  person's presence.  He asked                                                               
why the distinction.                                                                                                            
SENATOR SEEKINS replied:                                                                                                        
     Once  that  bear becomes  aware  of  your presence  and                                                                    
     flees, you  cannot pursue it  with a  motorized vehicle                                                                    
     under current  law. This gives  you the  opportunity to                                                                    
     be able to do that.                                                                                                        
SENATOR ELTON asked if this  would preclude a person from getting                                                               
into a riverboat and cruising the  river and if they spot a bear,                                                               
they can't shoot  it - although the bear would  be aware of their                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS said  this bill would allow  that, although other                                                               
regulations  are  still in  effect.  You  couldn't shoot  from  a                                                               
moving boat, for instance.                                                                                                      
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked since he  was opening  up the law,  did he                                                               
want  to include  a moving  boat. She  has seen  many bears  just                                                               
stand there and  not go running. If you landed  and had to shoot,                                                               
that bear  would more than  likely not  be there. "It  seems like                                                               
you might allow  turning off the motor or it  doesn't matter. Why                                                               
not put in there that you could also shoot from a moving boat?"                                                                 
CHAIR OGAN said that's what this bill does.                                                                                     
SENATOR SEEKINS added:                                                                                                          
     I don't think  you can shoot when  it's under power....                                                                    
     I would  not have  a problem with  it if  it's coasting                                                                    
     and  it's a  safe opportunity.  It was  meant primarily                                                                    
     for   safety  of   other  people   in   the  boat   and                                                                    
     themselves.... I'm  not trying to  rule that out.  I am                                                                    
     just trying  to say here  that you could use  that boat                                                                    
     to pursue,  to use that snow  machine, without breaking                                                                    
     the law.  I didn't go  to the  end shot where  you have                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS said  the last sections deal with  bear hides and                                                               
skulls. Currently  when the ADF&G  comes into possession  of bear                                                               
hides and skulls, it is able to  sell them at auction and use the                                                               
proceeds in the  fish and game fund. This bill  allows someone to                                                               
donate a  hide or  skull to  the department to  be sold  for that                                                               
purpose or  to a qualified  organization that is  associated with                                                               
conservation.  It could  be sold  and a  commission of  up to  50                                                               
percent of  the net proceeds could  go to the person  who donated                                                               
it to recover his expenses.                                                                                                     
     Part of the reason we have  it restricted the way it is                                                                    
     ... [to] keep them out  of the strict identification of                                                                    
     being  involved   in  interstate  commerce   and  allow                                                                    
     someone who may have harvested  a bear and may not want                                                                    
     that skull or  may not want that hide any  longer to be                                                                    
     able to put the value to good use.                                                                                         
SENATOR DYSON asked if gall bladders are allowed.                                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS replied that gall bladders are not allowed.                                                                     
SENATOR WAGONER  asked if the qualified  organization already has                                                               
a bear  hide or skull that's  been donated to them  and they want                                                               
to sell it, can they do that under this bill.                                                                                   
SENATOR SEEKINS replied  not the way it's classified  now, but he                                                               
wouldn't  have a  problem with  doing that.  He didn't  think the                                                               
department would either.                                                                                                        
SENATOR ELTON  said he  thought a legally  taken bear  under this                                                               
permit  program could  have the  skull and  hide donated,  but he                                                               
didn't know for sure if that  was an expansion of what can happen                                                               
CHAIR OGAN conceded  that was a good point. It  might have to say                                                               
legally taken bear under AS something or other.                                                                                 
SENATOR SEEKINS added that the  intent was to try and accommodate                                                               
a  request from  folks  who want  to  give a  bear  hide away  to                                                               
someone else who would value it.                                                                                                
     Then we  are allowing  them to  auction them  or raffle                                                                    
     them and to  do that through the  department or through                                                                    
     a  501(c)(3)  who  also has  conservation  purposes.  I                                                                    
     don't care how they get the hide.                                                                                          
SENATOR WAGONER said he has a  501(c)(3) [the food bank in Kenai]                                                               
that had  a skull  and hide  donated to  it and  this legislation                                                               
would  allow them  to be  sold and  he had  no problem  with that                                                               
CHAIR OGAN  said he  was in  Jackson Hole  for an  Energy Council                                                               
Conference a year  and a half ago  and saw a lot  of Alaska moose                                                               
racks  and Grizzly  bear. People  take them  to other  states and                                                               
sell them and  according to ADF&G, we can't stop  them. He didn't                                                               
know if they could sell animals killed in their state, though.                                                                  
SENATOR  LINCOLN  noted  that  proceeds  could  not  be  used  to                                                               
contribute  to  a  political candidate  or  to  any  organization                                                               
supporting  or opposing  ballot propositions  or to  pay expenses                                                               
associated with  lobbying. Yet, she  thought the  Outdoor Council                                                               
has a lobbyist  and someone mentioned it earlier  as a recipient.                                                               
She asked  how the department  determines how that money  is used                                                               
by an  organization. How would one  know if someone was  going to                                                               
support or  oppose a ballot  proposition? It is such  a wide-open                                                               
statement and doesn't even mention a timeframe.                                                                                 
SENATOR SEEKINS replied that it's  not uncommon for organizations                                                               
to  have affiliate  organizations that  are made  up of  the same                                                               
members,  but for  different purposes  and he  used the  National                                                               
Rifle Association as an example.                                                                                                
     Our attempt  here is  to not use  these things  to fund                                                                    
     the  contentious  side of  the  issues,  but rather  to                                                                    
     support those that are 502(c)(3)  that don't partake in                                                                    
     those  kinds  of  activities.  I   think  a  (c)(3)  is                                                                    
     precluded  from being  able to  participate in  many of                                                                    
     these activities.                                                                                                          
SENATOR WAGONER agreed.                                                                                                         
CHAIR OGAN elaborated  that a 501(c)(3) cannot make  that kind of                                                               
contribution and that language doesn't  even need to be there. "A                                                               
(c)(3)  can't do  anything political  at all  or they  lose their                                                               
SENATOR ELTON assumed that the board  would still set the time of                                                               
year  a person  could hunt  with this  permit and  would set  the                                                               
number of animals that could be taken under one permit.                                                                         
SENATOR SEEKINS replied that is absolutely correct.                                                                             
CHAIR  OGAN  said the  committee  would  be  receiving a  lot  of                                                               
comments on this bill in the future and set it aside.                                                                           

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